PARTNERSHIP 2GETHER: PHILADELPHIA – NETIVOT – SEDOT NEGEV
In 1997, the Partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Netivot – Sedot Negev was launched. Philadelphia is the second largest city on the east coast of the United States with a population of six million, of which, 210,000 are Jews. The population of the Netivot – Sedot Negev Region is Apx 40,000. Netivot has 30,000 residents – including 5,600 immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and 1,800 Ethiopians. The Sedot Negev Regional Council has a population of 9,500. Sedot Negev incorporates 12 religious moshavim, two kibbutzim, and two community villages.
“Partnership 2Gether” was established by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) in cooperation with United Jewish Communities and Keren HaYesod in order to confront the pressing challenges of the Jewish People in Israel and Overseas. The New Vision and Mission of the Partnership are as follows:
A united and connected community of Philadelphia-Netivot-Sedot Negev that embraces our diversity based on mutual shared responsibility, and is passionate about Jewish identity and continuity, with Israel at its heart.
To be the living bridge for the promotion, empowerment, education and development of our communities and serve as a compass for our mutual engagement and Jewish identity.
To nurture the building of friendship, family and mutual understanding by creating vitalized, ongoing, meaningful initiatives and people to people programs that focus on strengthening Jewish identity in both communities and advance Jewish connectedness and involvement with Israel.
“Partnership 2Gether” is based on a model of partnership and reciprocity. This model integrates the needs of all the partners: On the one hand, the strengthening of national priority areas – the Galilee and the Negev, by creating a stimulus for growth and development and, on the other hand, confronting the problem of assimilation of Jews living overseas by creating opportunities for them to engage with Israel’s national objectives and to cultivate community building.
“Partnership 2Gether” created a myriad of opportunities for people-to-people connections within the framework of “Gesher to Kesher” programs. These programs have enabled us to reach many Jews who heretofore did not have a relationship with the organized Jewish Community in Philadelphia. During the past decade approximately 6,000 Jews from the Philadelphia area visited the Region and about 550 residents from the Region visited Philadelphia in a variety of missions and programs. The project also operates programs that meet the needs in the areas of regional development, education and community. The Region’s Partnership 2000 Steering Committee serves as an oversight mechanism where by these projects are evaluated and assessed.
As a result of the positive connections that have been developed within the framework of “Partnership 2Gether,” the Jewish Community of Philadelphia has also partnered with the City of Netivot and the Sedot Negev Regional Council in the construction of three facilities: 1) The Kaiserman Family Spiritual Center, 2) The Tanenbaum Music Conservatory and, 3) The Robert Saligman Early Childhood Development Center. In addition, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, within the framework of the Israel Emergency Campaign (IEC), has helped the Region respond to its security needs.
Our mutual vision for the next decade is to deepen existing personal relationships, to expand the circle of partnerships with social and educational agencies and to promote regional development in Netivot – Sedot Negev. “Partnership 2Gether” has accomplished many of its goals in the first decade and we are confident that as the second decade unfolds, new challenges and unmet needs will be addressed with the Partnership enabling the connections between the Jewish Community of Philadelphia and the residents of the Netivot – Sedot Negev Region to grow and expand for many years to come.